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review 2016-01-07 15:26
Review: Imperia by Jason Hatcher

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They say love can move mountains. But can hate?

 

IMPERIA is a tale of revenge. It is a resurrection of Asian myth.

 

Thirty years is a long time to hold a grudge. The Red Empress has endured every single day of the past three decades living among enemies. A captive empress, she bides her time, her mind's machinations plotting a future bathed in blood. And then the waiting ends. Across the Empire of Heaven, the winds blow calmly no more. Evil battles evil in a fight for destiny itself. When a vendetta escalates into revolution, the Empress must choose between herself and something far greater. Incorporating elements of fantasy, horror, and erotica, Hatcher creates a world as dark and hypnotic as an opium dream.

 

***Disclaimer: I received a free copy in exchange for a review.***

 

The opening was enough to hook you: a noblewoman embarking on a quest to consult with a seeress about the means to seek vengeance on those who’ve killed her family and devastated her people. What she learns is not fully revealed, but cements her path of retribution, a path that’s laid in blood.

 

The writing style is… fair, but uneven. It invokes an air of chaos and change, tumult and rebellion, but also despair and even resolve. The main characteristic Hatcher’s writing is typical of self-publishing: too much telling, not enough showing. Once again the reader is constantly told what’s going on, what’s happening to the characters, rarely experiencing it with them, through their eyes. And it dulls the impact of every significant event.

 

The setting is great!- a tale of intrigue and fantasy set in an imperialistic Chinese world, with a trace of Western influence. The lead character, Fei Sei, inhabits a milieu of constant intrigue with everyone jockeying for position and maintaining balance is often the difference between life and death. Sadly, it’s often under as the focus is shifted to other matters.

 

The conflict at the heart of the story is where it both burns brightly and fades to embers. Fei Sei is the only survivor of the barbarian raid on the imperial palace; she was wedded to the barbarian chief to give legitimacy to his rule. For over thirty years she’d suffered and planned in silence, biding her time until she was ready to strike back at those who slaughtered her family and crippled her people. Aided by steadfast friends and allies, Fei Sei sets in motion a web of deceit and misdirection to bring the barbarians to their knees. The problem, again, is in the delivery.

 

The dialogue is one of the most egregious areas the book fails in. As we’ve come to expect in classically inspired fantasy tales, speech patterns and diction are formal and precise… until they suddenly turn into slang and dialect. Ever wondered what it’d be like to see a Chinese peasant using words like “youse” and “ain’t”? Look no further than this book, and be prepared to get knocked right out of the story when it happens. Is this supposed to be China or Chinatown? I’ve no idea what the author was aiming for with this.

 

Another self-publishing pitfall is the ever present Telling, Not Showing. You’re never in the moment with the characters, more like always standing next to them waiting for them to tell you what’s going on with them. The story itself is interesting; the premise is definitely intriguing. Fei Sei’s chain of vengeance and retribution unfolds and blossoms, sometimes in the most haphazard and contrived ways. You’re left marveling at the ease many of her schemes play out, but only because of the gross stupidity of her enemies. It’s a classic case of the heroine almost winning by default.

 

There were so many ways this story could’ve succeeded and shone, like the promise of a diamond within a lump of coal. So much sparkle and brilliance waiting to burst forth and dazzle. And like so many self-published books, all it needs is a decent editor to bring it forth. 2.5/5 stars.

 

 

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text 2015-12-29 06:44
Book Tour: The Reader (Rifters #3) by Mary Pax

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With the rift closed for the season and no more monsters to fight, Daelin Long gets bored as librarian in the podunk town of Settler, Oregon. A job interview and her brother’s arrival present a tempting opportunity to escape, until her brother and her best friend, a ghost, disappear.

 

While Daelin searches for them, more mysteries pile up: dead people coming back to life, portraits of the town founders replaced with strange white trees, and people on the other side of the rift returning. It’s impossible. The portal that allows monsters from other universes to come to Earth is sealed until next summer.

 

The Rifters, a secret group protecting our world, believe the troubles are nothing more than the tantrums of an offended ghost. Daelin disagrees. If she’s right, the evil hell-bent on destroying Earth has new technology making the rift more deadly.

 

Before the monster summons the next apocalypse, Daelin must find it and destroy it.

 

Book 3 in the Rifter series.

 

Excerpt: “D-do you see her?”  Daelin Long pointed at Cordelia.

 

No longer ghostly, the woman was a come-to-life image of Settler’s first librarian, complete with attire from 1910. She sauntered into the alley between The Chemist pharmacy and the Caslow Circuit news office.

 

“Appearing as solid as…,”  Wald’s hazel eyes frowned at the sidewalk, “my dinner.” He picked up the paper sack containing his supper and trailed after Cordelia.

 

There wasn’t enough space in the alley to squeeze around him. Daelin pushed at him to move faster. “Something is wrong with her.”

 

Wald Macadam, a fellow Rifter, appeared ill-suited for traipsing around in unkempt alleys and battling monsters. His soft brown hair, cut in the latest fashion, didn’t help, neither did his freshly manicured nails. Burrs and dead leaves stuck to his dark gray trousers as he cut between the buildings. He came to a halt right before the alley emptied into a shaded yard.

 

“What do you know?” he asked. “If you’re so hinked up, you know something.”

 

Cordelia paused in the yard, spread her arms and yowled. The soul-quaking cry shook the window of the news office next to Daelin. She nudged Wald to get moving. “Before Cordelia causes trouble we can’t explain by geological activity, you’d better catch her.”

 

“How? How do you want me to get her?” He had a good heart, but his intuition for dealing with the beasts wasn’t always the best.

 

“Tackle her or something.” She nudged him harder. “If you don’t, I will.”

 

Buy it at: B&N / Amazon / Amazon UK / GooglePlay / Kobo / Smashwords / iBook / Inktera / Scribd / Bookcessories  

 

The first two books of the Rifters series can be read for free by becoming a M. Pax Reader.

 
Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win a $40 Amazon or B&N Gift Card.

 

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M. Pax is author of the sci-fi series, The Backworlds, and the new adult urban fantasy Hetty Locklear series. A Browncoat and SG fan, she's also slightly obsessed with Jane Austen. In the summers she docents as a star guide at Pine Mountain Observatory where the other astronomers now believe she has the most extensive collection of moon photos in existence. No fear, there will be more next summer. She lives in stunning Central Oregon with the Husband Unit and two lovely, spoiled cats.
 
Catch up with her on her: Twitter / FB / Pinterest / Website
 
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text 2015-12-15 06:52
Book Blitz: The Hunter's Moon (Secret Warriors Series) by Beth Trissel

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Seventeen-year-old Morgan Daniel has been in the witness protection program most of her life. But The Panteras have caught up with her and her younger brother. Her car is totaled, she's hurt, and the street gang is closing in when wolves with glowing eyes appear out of nowhere and chase away the killers.

 

Then a very cute guy who handles a bow like Robin Hood emerges from the woods and takes them to safety at his fortress-like home. And that's just the first sign that Morgan and her brother have entered a hidden world filled with secrets...

 

Excerpt: “Should we stay, or go while the smoke lasts?”  The cloth muffled her voice.

 

“You can hardly walk.”

 

She couldn’t argue that point. Neither could they wait to be found. “The Panteras won’t give up until we’re dead.”

 

“Maybe they think we are,” he argued under his breath.

 

“Maybe.”

 

She suspected Mateo would demand a body, even a charred one. Make that two. She and Jimmy didn’t have much choice, though, other than to crouch in dread while the fire crackled.

 

“Next birthday, I want an AK-47.” He nudged her. “Look.”

 

She fixed her blurry gaze on what appeared to be a black wolf emerging from the trees. The creature was larger than she’d thought wolves were, and she’d understood none remained in these mountains. They were all farther north or west. Somewhere else.

 

Apparently, she was misinformed.

 

Judging by its size, she guessed this was a male. He stopped before their hideout. Eyes the color of red coals surveyed them before he turned and darted down the trail she’d spotted.

 

“Holy cow, Batboy. Did you see that?” she whispered.

 

Jimmy didn’t reply. He prodded her again. She stared at the big brown and gray wolf that took the black one’s place. Where on earth had he come from?

 

The beast turned its furry head at her and Jimmy. His eyes shone with a luminous light, like fireflies...

 

Buy it at: Amazon / B&N

 

 

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Married to her high school sweetheart, Beth Trissel lives on a farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia surrounded by her human family and furbabies. An avid gardener, her love of herbs and heirloom plants figures into her work. The rich history of Virginia, the Native Americans, and the people who journeyed here from far beyond her borders are at the heart of her inspiration. She's especially drawn to colonial America and the drama of the American Revolution. In addition to YA fantasy romance, she also writes historical, time travel, and paranormal romance, plus nonfiction.

 

Connect with Beth on her: Blog / Facebook / Twitter / Amazon Author Page

 

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway to win either an Amazon or B&N $30 Gift Card.

 

 

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review 2015-11-06 21:04
Accused
Accused - Wendy Byrne
I read a really good book, y'all — Accused, by Wendy Byrne. Let me tell you a little about it.
 
Accused, a romantic suspense novel, is Book One in the Troubled Boys, Strong Men series. This is the first book by Wendy Byrne that I've read, but it won't be the last. [Commercial Break: I just purchased her Hard Targets Trilogy Boxed Set (published by Gemma Halliday) which is sale-priced (as of this writing) at $2.99 — that's less than each book sells for individually!]
 
Accused is a really good book. (I just said that, didn't I.) From the very first sentence, I was hooked. I finished it in two days, only because I very reluctantly put it down so I could get some sleep. You can get hooked, too — go to the Excerpts section of Author Wendy Byrne's website, to read the first chapter of Accused.
 
The main characters are Jillian Beckett, her son Travis Beckett, and his football coach Sam Carter. The story is told in third person, mostly from these three characters' points of view. All of the characters are realistic and believable.
 
The suspense at the beginning of the book is quite suspenseful and mysterious. I kept wondering what happened to Travis and who framed him. The romance is nicely romantic, behind closed doors. The book is fast-paced, with plot twists every so often to keep the readers on their toes. The suspense at the end of the book — WOW! What a climax!   
 
I really enjoyed Accused by Wendy Byrne, and award it Four Kitties out of five! I recommend it to all fans of Romantic Suspense.
 
 
Note:  I received a complimentary copy of Accused in exchange for my honest review. All opinions shared are 100% my own.
 
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text 2015-10-01 10:33
Book Tour: Stargazing (Walker Family #2) by Bernadette Marie

 

Bethany Waterbury left Hollywood and the shadow of her mother's death to give herself a fresh start. Her main intention—to connect with the family she’d never really had the chance to know.

 

Author Kent Black is enjoying his chart topping success and living freely wherever his travels take him. But when he meets the illustrious Bethany Waterbury his wanderlust subsides and the thought of a steady future begins to take over.

 

Kent believes in happily ever after, but the burden of Bethany’s past might be too much for him to embrace —unless true love is more powerful than a Hollywood tragedy.

 

Excerpt: Bethany gripped the front of Kent’s shirt as he moved in to kiss her. His eyes had closed and his warm hands pressed against her face.

 

The world around her spun, much as it did when she took those pills with her mother’s name on them.

 

She closed her eyes and let her body press against him.

 

His lips were pliant against hers. Warm and soft. Hungry yet gentle.

 

He didn’t pull back with just a press of the lips. He deepened the kiss.

 

Kent’s hands slid from her face, down her arms, and to her hips where he pulled her even closer. Lifting her arms around his neck, she opened her mouth to him and he took.

 

His tongue swept across hers and the moan that escaped between them could have belonged to either of them, but she was sure it was hers. Kent’s hands slid to the small of her back and pressed her even closer than she’d thought was possible.

 

Was this rhythm? She suddenly began to hope so, because with all the men she’d been intimate with, this topped the list. This one kiss was wildly passionate and gentle all at the same time.

 

She’d nearly forgotten they were standing on the sidewalk as people drove by. Kent eased back, but his eyes didn’t open. He looked as though he were holding on to the moment, just as she was. “I seriously didn’t expect that,” he said opening his eyes and gazing into hers.

 

“It was nice.”

 

“It was more than that.”

 

Purchase it at: Amazon / iTunes / Kobo

 

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

 

 

Bestselling Author Bernadette Marie is known for building families readers want to be part of. Her series The Keller Family has graced bestseller charts since its release in 2011, along with her other series and single title books. The married mother of five sons promises Happily Ever After always… and says she can write it, because she lives it.

 

When not writing, Bernadette Marie is shuffling her sons to their many events—mostly hockey—and enjoying the beautiful views of the Colorado Rocky Mountains from her front step. She is also an accomplished martial artist with a second degree black belt in Tang Soo Do.

 

A chronic entrepreneur, Bernadette Marie opened her own publishing house in 2011, 5 Prince Publishing, so that she could publish the books she liked to write and help make the dreams of other aspiring authors come true too.

 

Bernadette Marie is also the CEO of Illumination Author Events.

 

Connect with Bernadette on her: Website / FB / Twitter / 5 Prince Books

 

 

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